Sharesies blog content

 

Building trust with blog content

I write weekly blogposts for the Sharesies team. This helps to build trust, and get people thinking about their finances. This case study works through the problem we were trying to solve, the different approaches we took, some of the customer feedback, and (finally) some links to some examples.

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Who is Sharesies?

Sharesies is a fintech startup that came onto the scene in mid-2017. They have a pretty straightforward goal: to make investing in shares accessible for anyone. With Sharesies, you can invest small amounts into a variety of ETFs and managed funds, without transaction costs and with a minimum investment of only $5.

This is great for people who want to get more out of their savings than a bank account can offer, but don’t have enough money to scrape together minimum amounts. If you want to invest $5 a week, you can, no sweat

By August 2018, Sharesies passed 23,000 customers, with more than $24 million invested in Sharesies. This is a testament to the hard work they’ve been putting in building a great product and brand.

Here’s my small contribution to this result:

Convincing people to invest

Sharesies’ target customers are people who have never invested before. This is different from traditional financial product providers, like banks and Kiwisaver providers, who are generally trying to woo people away from competitors.

This means that Sharesies needs to convince people of two things:

  1. That they should be thinking about their money.

  2. That they should consider investing in shares through Sharesies.

Building trust

When it comes down to it, Sharesies is asking people to hand their money over, and you need a decent amount of trust to do this. This means that Sharesies needs to get people thinking about their money in a way that shows that Sharesies is a company that can be trusted.

You can’t accomplish these goals with one piece of material that you create overnight. These are long-term problems that require a long-term solution

A blog

Sharesies deals with these issues by posting on their blog. Their blog covers all kinds of topics related to the economy, spending, personal finance and investing. This helps to get people thinking about their money, and also builds trust over the long term by being a constant source of useful information.

However, there’s a bit of an issue: Sharesies is a startup, and everyone’s pulled in a million different directions. They’re also not big enough to bring on a full-time communications person to manage their blog.

That’s where I come in. I write regular blogposts for Sharesies. I leave the Sharesies-specific stuff up to them, and I take care of the more generic topics, like the time value of money, or an explanation of how debt works.

The process

The process was pretty ad-hoc when I first started working with Sharesies in August 2017. We’d agree on a blogpost title and topic, and I’d write it. Pretty straightforward.

Then we started building on this. It can be kind of tricky to produce short blog posts at a good clip when you’re starting each one from scratch - you need to have a quick discussion about the topic, agree an angle, and so on. This can get pretty time consuming when you’re having a separate conversation for each post.

I then put together a calendar planning six months of posts. This worked for awhile, but it ran into the same problem that most calendars inevitably run into: it’s too rigid, and can’t respond very well to changes.

So with this in mind, we scaled back to a halfway point. Now I write posts on a four-weekly basis, with one per week. I’ll think of a few ideas at the beginning of the month, send them through, and we’ll have a discussion. We’ll agree on the angle, topic and approach for all four posts, and I just work through them as the month goes on.

This works really well. They get a steady stream of content to build trust and get people thinking about their money, but they’re not shackled to a calendar. We can try topics out, see how they go, and adjust the next month to reflect what we learned from the previous month. Then the Sharesies team can add to that whenever they want. If they don’t have time to write a blogpost, they still have the baseline level of posts that I provide.

An ongoing asset

The Sharesies team make good use of these blogposts. They do the standard distribution things you’d expect, like posting them on social media, but they also use them for things like customer onboarding. For example, they use this blog on how to choose an investment in emails to new customers. This helps them get additional value out of their blog, beyond the initial goals of building trust and helping people think about their money.

Results

You can get a feel for the results by looking at some of the comments:

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